West Java: landslide buries a village, 15 dead and 70 missing
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The provisional toll from a huge landslide that buried a tea plantation in the village of Tenjolaya, Ciwidey district, about 40 km from Bandung, the capital of West Java, is of 15 dead and 70 missing. The heavy monsoon rains of recent days have caused land subsidence in the area of mountains and islands, that is home to more than 2 thousand people and is difficult to reach for rescuers.
The area is owned by PT Cakra, a local company that cultivates tea. A police official explained that "the majority of the population live in the structures set up by the company”, many of which were submerged by the mud. Currently it is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the victims, but the fear is that the number of dead - now 15 - will grow.
The area is about 60 km from Ciwidey it takes a three-hour journey by car to reach it. "There is no telephone coverage available" adds the policeman, confirming the difficulties encountered by rescuers in getting help to victims. The landslide has also covered several tea plantations.
Witnesses report that local residents dug with bare hands and with traditional objects to free the homes from the mud, searching for survivors. However there are no reports of people still alive extracted from the mud.
Later today, the Indonesian vice president Boediono is expected to visit the village and the area affected by landslides, to bring solidarity and financial aid to the population.